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Final push is on to raise funds for new sundial

From left, Russ Heglund (BPAA Secretary and resident sundial expert) stands with Matt, Bill, Graham and Chris Baran-Mickle next to the atronomical association’s life-size model sundial to be installed at  Battle Point Park. - George McCullough photo
From left, Russ Heglund (BPAA Secretary and resident sundial expert) stands with Matt, Bill, Graham and Chris Baran-Mickle next to the atronomical association’s life-size model sundial to be installed at Battle Point Park.
— image credit: George McCullough photo

The Battle Point Astronomical Association has been fundraising for the past five years to install a giant-sized sundial adjacent to its observatory.

As August continues to be the island’s hottest month of the year, the association has launched an online crowd-funding campaign to give the earth’s biggest star some well-deserved attention.

“Our master plan has always envisioned having a sundial there,” said Frank Petrie, the sundial project manager for the association. “All the puzzle pieces are finally falling into place, so now is the time to do it.”

Local artist Bill Baran-Mickle has designed an equatorial bowstring sundial of bronze-clad steel that is planned to reach 12 feet high at Battle Point Park.

The sundial will not just be of interest to local astronomers. Baran-Mickle plans to combine artist charm with what will become a family favorite in the summer months.

The base of the sundial will be surrounded by plaques that explain how it works, how to read it and facts about the sun and the Earth. The association also plans to place a time capsule into the base, which donors will have the chance to personalize.

Woody Sullivan, an astronomy professor at the University of Washington and otherwise known as “Mr. Sundial,” has endorsed the project as a showpiece in his inventory.

Sullivan has been gathering a list of all the sundials in Washington with the hopes that the Evergreen State will become a record breaker as the state with the most dials.

His endorsement is an ironic inspiration for the Battle Point Astronomical Association.

“You might say Phoenix should be a sundial capital, but you don’t go out in the sun in Phoenix, you get away from the sun,” said Sullivan in the association’s project video campaign.

“When the sun comes out in Seattle, we all go running outside … I could actually have a picnic, I could look at the sundial and I could tell the time. We’re enthusiastic about the sun here.”

Sullivan has already documented what he calls the “Seattle Sundial Trail.” Come the completion of the association’s project, Battle Point Park will be added to the list.

Over the past five years, the association has raised $13,000 through member and friend donations for the project, including grants from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation and the Bainbridge Community Foundation and a $5,000 pledge from the association’s board.

With an online campaign, the hope is to raise the additional $17,000 needed for the project by Sept. 22.

The total $30,000 of funding will allow the association to pay for the sundial fabrication and installation, the installation contingency, fees to the online campaign, perks for donors and the campaign production.

To donate to the project, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/battle-point-sundial-project.

 

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